Daily Bike Forecast — by Bike Snob NYC

August 14th, 2017: Perspective

The days are getting shorter:

aug 14

Monday Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. Northeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming south in the afternoon.

Monday Night Mostly cloudy, with a low around 69. South wind 3 to 7 mph.

Sunrise: 6:05am

Sunset: 7:55pm

With the sun coming up after 6am and going down before 8pm we're officially on the home stretch of summer, so hopefully you've been making the most of yours:

Meanwhile, the Times really dropped one on us this past Friday, didn't they?

Earlier this year the author's mother was killed in Washington, DC by a cyclist who was subsequently cited for disobeying a traffic signal.  And while it feels fundamentally wrong to gainsay something written by someone who lost her mother so senselessly and inexcusably, at the same time the entire op-ed feels...fundamentally wrong:

My mom was struck in Washington, but it could have happened in New York. Both are among the most bike-friendly cities in the country. As The Times reported last month, there are more than 450,000 daily bike trips in the city. With 10,000 Citi Bikes and ubiquitous bike lanes, the streets are more hospitable than ever to bicycle commuters. And those increases aren’t unique to New York. Between 2000 and 2013, bike-commuting rates increased 62 percent on a national average, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Could this have happened in New York?  Yes, of course.  However, even in a city that sees almost half a million bike trips it would have been extremely unlikely, having happened only ten times in the last 15 years:



While this is of course ten times too many, the tragedy was even more unlikely in Washington where it actually occurred, having happened there only a total of eight times before since 1905:


She does acknowledge that it is in fact drivers who are injuring and killing the vast majority people on the streets of New York (or "cars" having "accidents" as she puts it), though the conclusion she draws from the numbers is that the city isn't doing enough about cyclists:

Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York has touted his Vision Zero initiative to reduce traffic fatalities across the city, which overwhelmingly involve cars. (More than 10,000 pedestrians were injured and 137 killed in accidents involving motor vehicles in 2015. And 4,433 cyclists were injured and 14 killed.) But clearly not enough has been done to protect pedestrians from irresponsible bikers. The number of collisions between pedestrians and cyclists rose more than 40 percent from 2012, when there were 243 crashes that injured 244 pedestrians, to 2015, when there were 349 that injured 361 pedestrians.

This strikes me as an act of considerable editorial largesse, because it's hard to imagine an editor letting anyone else get away with this line of reasoning.

And that's precisely what's so challenging and, frankly, maddening about this op-ed.  Any feeling person can understand why she'd feel this way after what happened to her mother:

I live in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, where cyclists seem to be everywhere. I have always loved taking long walks in my neighborhood, ambling through the park and brownstone-lined streets with my husband and young daughter. But now when I leave the house I’m struck by the number of cyclists with no regard for the traffic laws. I see them blowing through red lights and stop signs, careering down sidewalks and weaving in and out of traffic, often while wearing earbuds or even looking at their phones.

Yet any thinking person can't help being bothered by the idea of worrying about cyclists while on a family stroll in Brownstone Brooklyn given the children who have been killed on the sidewalk in this city by drivers:


And consider this op-ed ran at the end of a week during which we learned that the NYPD won't charge Neftaly Ramirez's killer:

no charges

The NYPD declined to charge the garbage truck driver who struck and killed 27-year-old Neftaly Ramirez as he biked home from work in Greenpoint on the morning of July 22nd. Investigators determined that the driver "didn't realize" he struck Ramirez, according to the NYPD.

"Based on the speed of the vehicle, where the vehicle was the whole time, indicated that this person probably didn't realize he had hit the victim," NYPD spokesman Detective Ahmed Nasser told Gothamist.

And that a cyclist who was attacked by a driver in an intentional hit-and-run had to track down video himself because the NYPD were "skeptical of his story":


At the scene of the crash, two officers from the 9th Precinct arrived, and Goater says one was immediately skeptical of his story, asking whether he was in the bike lane or ran a red light.

Police checked the security footage of the nearby Manhattan Mini Storage but it didn’t show the collision. And that appears to be the extent of the initial investigation. Goater got the footage in this video himself the day after the crash.

Ultimately, this op-ed is just more editorial chloroform ensuring people don't wake up to the reality on the streets and instead continue to accept death by driver as a matter of course, while at the same time failing to address the conditions that influence cyclist behavior in the first place: